Councilmembers: Ganim’s public apology to Rawls, Smith-Fields families was ‘insulting’
Two members of the Bridgeport City Council were critical of Mayor Joe Ganim’s recent public apology to the families of Lauren Smith-Fields and Brenda Lee Rawls – two Black women who were found dead in their district on the same day.
Michele Small and Maria Pereira told News 12 that they will stand by both families as they seek justice for their loved ones.
News 12 broke both stories before Christmas and they've since become international news. Mayor Ganim suspended two detectives connected to the investigations in the wake of the controversy and recorded an apology to the families.
Small and Pereira say the families have rejected that apology.
“Both families have stated publicly on-air they are not accepting Mayor Ganim's apology, which I don't blame them for,” said Pereira. “To issue an apology through the media in a video instead of calling the families personally or asking the families to come to his office so he can converse with them face to face, I think was very insulting and disrespectful to the families."
The council members urge the public to support the GoFundMe campaign, launched by the family of Brenda Lee Rawls.
“The Bridgeport Police Department has high standards for officer sensitivity especially in matters involving the death of a family member,” said Ganim in his apology. "It is an unaccepted failure that policies were not followed. To the families, friends, and all who care about human decency that should be shown in these situations – in this case, by members of the police department – I’m very sorry.”